Estate plans are important, so it makes a lot of sense to think that you have to file or register your plan with a government office. After all, don’t courts have to determine if you have created a legally valid last will and testament? Doesn’t this mean that you’ll need to file your will with a court?
While these questions are understandable, the idea that you have to file or register your plan with a government office is a misconception. Let’s take a look at why this is true.
Creating Your Estate Plan
No one is ever legally obligated to create an estate plan. However, should you choose to craft an estate planning device, you have the responsibility to make sure the device you craft meets the necessary legal requirements. Further, there isn’t really a government agency or body that will tell you what you need to do or provide you with advice about the kind of plan you need. This is why it’s so important to talk to an experienced attorney who knows what it takes to create a good estate plan.
Registering Your Estate Plan
The legal requirements you have to meet when crafting an estate plan differ depending on what you create. However, Florida does not require that you register, file, or otherwise notify any state government agency that you have created a plan. Some pieces of your plan, such as your will, must be accepted by a court in order to take effect, but you are not obligated to file the document before you die.
Keeping a Plan Secure
Even though you are not legally obligated to file or register your estate plan with a government body, that doesn’t mean you can forget about your planning tools after you create them. Once you create an estate planning device, such as a will or power of attorney, you should take steps to protect it. The steps you need to take will differ depending on the type of tool you’ve created.
For example, let’s say you’ve created a last will and testament. How you choose to keep the document safe is entirely up to you, but there are some precautions most people take. You can, for example, keep it in a secure place in your home, keep it in a bank safe deposit box, or keep it with your lawyer. Each of these places, however, might require you to take additional steps. For example, you might need to notify your executor where your will is, or make arrangements with your bank to allow someone access to your safe deposit box after your death for the purposes of retrieving the will.